Cost of food imports a growing burden for poorest countries, warns UN

July 10, 2018

Rome:The cost of importing food is weighing increasingly heavily on the world’s poorest countries, a United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation report issued on Tuesday showed.

The food import bill has risen fivefold since 2000 for countries that are the most vulnerable to food shortages, while it has roughly tripled globally to reach $1.43 trillion in 2017 and is set to rise again this year, according to FAO’s Food Outlook report.

“This shows a trend that has been deteriorating over time, portending an increasing challenge, especially for the poorest countries, to meet their basic food needs from international markets,” said Adam Prakash, a FAO economist and author of the study in the report.

The global food import bill is likely to rise by around 3 per cent to about $1.47 trillion this year, driven chiefly by greater international trade in fish, notably seafood – costly foods mostly imported by developed countries – and cereals, a staple that is an essential import for many poor countries, the report said.

The food import bill now accounts for 28 per cent of all merchandise export earnings for the group of least-developed countries – almost double the share of 2005. This compares with some 10 per cent of export earnings spent on food imports by developed countries, which also have higher GDP per capita, FAO noted.

Food imports have risen at an annual global average rate of 8 pe rcent since 2000, but has been in the double-digits for the vast majority of the poorest countries. And the share of cereals imported compared to higher-value foods has not fallen in poorer countries, in stark contrast to wealthier ones, where it has dipped sharply, FAO said.

The new issue of the twice-yearly Food Outlook also contains a special chapter on the growing trade in minor tropical fruits such as guava and lychees.

“Strong worldwide urbanisation trends and growing health awareness” as well and “robust wholesale prices” in developed countries point to ample commercial potential for minor tropical fruit exporters in low-income countries, according to FAO.

The global output value of these fruits – 86 per cent of which are produced in Asia – was around $20 billion last year, it said.

However, capitalising on this trade opportunity for poorer countries will take innovation in handling perishability, assurance of supply, price volatility and compliance with phytosanitary certification requirements, the UN agency said.

Only around 10 per cent of minor tropic fruits production is currently traded across borders, mostly within Asia – with Thailand a major exporter. Guava is the largest fruit in this category, along with jackfruit, longan, lychee, durian, rambutan and passion fruit, mostly grown in Brazil, and mangosteen, said FAO.

Countries may indeed be “paying more for less food,” even though global production and trading conditions have been quite benign in recent years, according to the report.

“While food markets have remained relatively stable thanks to generally good supply conditions across most categories, they remain vulnerable in light of recent rising trade disputes and the potential for weather and other shocks,” the report warned.

In the cereals sector, 2018/19 trade is expected to remain robust, supported by continued strong import demand for nearly all major cereals.

Other highlights include expectations of “elevated” and even record prices for seafood products in the second half this year due to tight supply trends; expanding trade for dairy products, especially milk powders; and a robust expansion of meat production amid decelerating growth in trade volumes, said the report.

The Food Outlook primarily reviews market trends for the world’s major food commodities, including cereals, fish, meat, dairy, sugar and vegetable oils.

Shia leaders demand death for Hafiz Saeed, seek justice for 26/11 victims

Lucknow: The All India Shia Husaini Fund members have demanded justice for the 26/11 Mumbai attack victims by hanging its mastermind, Hafiz Saeed. Shia religious leaders and intellectuals from different...

Hundreds of jail police personnel go on mass CL in Gujarat

Ahmedabad: Hundreds of police personnel serving at various jails in Gujarat on Wednesday went on a mass casual leave demanding a pay hike at par with other police personnel and State...

Centre bans PFI, all its affiliates for 5 years. Here are key reasons

After two rounds of nationwide raids and arrests of over 240 members, the Centre on Wednesday banned the contentious Popular Front of India (PFI) and all its affiliates, excluding the...

Home Ministry all set to ban PFI after studying possible legal challenges

New Delhi: Days after the NIA and the ED raided several locations linked to the Popular Front of India (PFI) across the country, the Union Home Ministry is planning to...

ISI & Khalistani connections of Goldy Brar, Bishnoi

New Delhi, Sep 12 (IANS) The NIA sources have said that Goldy Brar and Lawrence Bishnoi gangs have contacts with Canada-based Khalistani elements and Pakistan-based ISI agents, and these gangs were...

IT sleuths seized our phones, cloned data, claim Oxfam, IPSMF

Days after the Income Tax Department carried out “surveys action” at their premises, Oxfam India and the Independent and Public-Spirited Media Foundation (IPSMF) alleged that the I-T personnel confiscated phones...

IS claims 1st Indian suicide bomber was Keralite Christian converted to Islam; agencies begin probe

Thiruvananthapuram: The Central intelligence agencies have commenced a probe after an article in the IS mouthpiece 'Voice of Koharasan' mentioned that 'the first Indian suicide bomber for them was a Keralite...

Hijab row not a controversy, but conspiracy against India: BJP

New Delhi: Referring to a plea in the Karnataka High Court to defer hearing on the 'hijab' row till the Assembly polls were over, the BJP has raised questions over the...

Congress to support BJP-backed Meghalaya govt

Shillong: In a significant political development, all five Congress MLAs in Meghalaya on Tuesday told Chief Minister Conrad Sangma that they wish to join the National People's Party (NPP)-led Meghalaya Democratic...

From reality to fiction, a tale of two opposites

New Delhi: Perhaps one becomes a different person after retirement? Released from the pressures and restrictions of a professional career you can give free rein to talents that remained dormant...

Ruins of ancient Sun temple in UP gets govt’s attention

Pratapgarh (Uttar Pradesh) Plans are afoot to revive a 8th century Sun temple, located in a Uttar Pradesh village in Pratapgarh district. A joint team of the state tourism department...

BHU scientist warns against ‘unscientific’ tree plantation

Varanasi: Even as Uttar Pradesh undertakes a massive tree plantation drive, a retired scientist and river engineer from the Banaras Hindu university (BHU) has warned against "unscientific plantation of trees...

Read Previous

Two dead, flight overshoots runway as rains still batter Mumbai, surroundings

Read Next

Follow London in offering disabled friendly access, HC tells DMRC

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

WP2Social Auto Publish Powered By :